Psa 142 Image






When Your Spirit Is Overwhelmed Within You

Here is what you should say to God

Psalm 142

Don Ruhl • Savage Street, Grants Pass, Oregon • January 6, In the year of our Lord Christ, 2019


  1. Psalm 142.0 | Trapped

    0 A Contemplation of David. A Prayer when he was in the cave.

    1. Saul chased David and
      1. the shepherd found a cave in which to hide twice.
      2. First Samuel 22 and 24 show how David had to hide from his father-in-law.
    2. David was trapped.
      1. What could he possibly do?
      2. He did what he always did.
        1. He prayed to God.
        2. He put the matter on God’s lap.
    3. Psalm 142 was a Contemplation of David,
      1. contemplating what to do and
      2. contemplating what to say in prayer.
  2. Psalm 142.1–2 | Cry Out to the Lord

    1 I cry out to the LORD with my voice;
    With my voice to the LORD I make my supplication.
    2 I pour out my complaint before Him;
    I declare before Him my trouble.

    1. He feared for his life and the lives of his men with him in the cave,
      1. leading him to cry out to God,
      2. although it would have been a whisper or just in his mind.
    2. These lines of verses 1 and 2 are the words of a desperate man.
      1. What do you do when you are desperate?
      2. How do you react when death seems inevitable?
        1. Is it not a time to cry out?
        2. Don’t you want to lift up your voice to God?
    3. You would want to pour out your heart,
      1. not holding anything back, but
      2. you would just let your words flow
        1. as you expressed to God your complaint,
        2. as in this case about people who are trying to hurt you.
    4. Declare your trouble to Him.
      1. Do you think that He cannot handle it?
      2. Do you think that He does not know about it?
        1. David himself had written in Psalm 139:

          4 For there is not a word on my tongue,
          But behold, O LORD, You know it altogether.
          (Psalm 139.4)
        2. Later, Jesus taught us:

          8 “For your Father knows the things you have need of before you ask Him” (Matthew 6.8).
    5. Why then hold yourself back?
      1. Open up to Him completely about the situation.
      2. If you do not, He might see that as doubt on your part,
        1. that you do not think that He knows everything, or
        2. that you do not think He can help.
  3. Psalm 142.3 | Pray When Overwhelmed

    3 When my spirit was overwhelmed within me,
    Then You knew my path.
    In the way in which I walk
    They have secretly set a snare for me.

    1. David remembered that although his spirit was overwhelmed within him,
      1. God knew David’s path,
      2. God knew the trouble that plagued David, and
        1. God was not overwhelmed.
        2. He put the sun in the sky,
          1. He put the moon in orbit around the earth,
          2. He put the earth in orbit around the sun.
            1. Do you think your problem is so big He cannot handle it?
            2. Do you know the God revealed within the pages of the Bible?
    2. Therefore, David spoke to God of the snare
      1. that they had set for him in the way that he walked.
      2. He had confidence that God saw it.
        1. That is why David poured his soul out to God.
        2. He also informed the Lord that it had overwhelmed him.
  4. Psalm 142.4 | Does Anyone Care for You?

    4 Look on my right hand and see,
    For there is no one who acknowledges me;
    Refuge has failed me;
    No one cares for my soul.

    1. David saw that he was alone,
      1. just as sometimes we think that we are alone, but
      2. there were people
        1. who acknowledged David and
        2. others who cared for him.
          1. However, with Saul after him and
          2. using the army to do it,
            1. David felt alone.
            2. Perhaps he wondered why others did not rise up against Saul.
    2. This reminds me of Elijah the prophet
      1. who thought that he was alone
      2. in worshiping the one true God
        1. in the days of King Ahab and his wicked wife Jezebel.
        2. Listen to Elijah as he states his solitary allegiance to Yahweh God:

          14 And he said, “I have been very zealous for the LORD God of hosts; because the children of Israel have forsaken Your covenant, torn down Your altars, and killed Your prophets with the sword. I alone am left; and they seek to take my life” (1 Kings 19.14).

          1. Then listen to what God told Elijah to do:

            15 Then the LORD said to him: “Go, return on your way to the Wilderness of Damascus; and when you arrive, anoint Hazael as king over Syria. 16 Also you shall anoint Jehu the son of Nimshi as king over Israel. And Elisha the son of Shaphat of Abel Meholah you shall anoint as prophet in your place. 17 It shall be that whoever escapes the sword of Hazael, Jehu will kill; and whoever escapes the sword of Jehu, Elisha will kill” (1 Kings 19.15–17).
          2. When the Lord finished those listen to what He told the prophet:

            18 “Yet I have reserved seven thousand in Israel, all whose knees have not bowed to Baal, and every mouth that has not kissed him” (1 Kings 19.18).

            1. How did Elijah miss 7,000 true followers of Yahweh?
            2. Here is the thing, Elijah did not know everything.
    3. Just do what David did and
      1. turn your situation over to the Lord,
      2. knowing that He knows everything and
        1. that He cares for you,
        2. as Peter told us to do:

          6 Therefore humble yourselves under the mighty hand of God, that He may exalt you in due time, 7 casting all your care upon Him, for He cares for you. (1 Peter 5.6–7).
        3. And as Paul instructed us to do:

          6 Be anxious for nothing, but in everything by prayer and supplication, with thanksgiving, let your requests be made known to God; 7 and the peace of God, which surpasses all understanding, will guard your hearts and minds through Christ Jesus (Philippians 4.6–7).
  5. Psalm 142.5–7 | God Is Your Refuge

    5 I cried out to You, O LORD:
    I said, “You are my refuge,
    My portion in the land of the living.
    6 Attend to my cry,
    For I am brought very low;
    Deliver me from my persecutors,
    For they are stronger than I.
    7 Bring my soul out of prison,
    That I may praise Your name;
    The righteous shall surround me,
    For You shall deal bountifully with me.”

    1. Here David wanted the Lord to know what He was to David and
    2. I would encourage you to do the same:
      1. David told the Lord what He was to him:
        1. He was David’s refuge.
        2. He was David’s portion.
      2. David revealed what happened.
        1. He had been brought very low.
        2. People were persecuting him.
        3. They were stronger than he.
        4. His soul was in prison.
      3. He made specific requests of God:
        1. Attend to his cry.
        2. Deliver him from his persecutors.
        3. Bring his soul out of prison.
      4. He ended his prayer on an upbeat note:
        1. He wanted to praise God’s name for rescuing him.
        2. He anticipated God answering in the affirmative.
    3. David knew that with the Lord’s deliverance, verse 7,
      1. the righteous would surround him.
      2. Listen to him in Psalm 34:

        2 My soul shall make its boast in the LORD;
        The humble shall hear of it and be glad.
        (Psalm 34.2)
      3. Hear the psalmist in Psalm 119:

        74 Those who fear You will be glad when they see me,
        Because I have hoped in Your word.
        (Psalm 119.74)


  1. David was in deep trouble:
    1. v. 2 – My trouble
    2. v. 3 – My spirit was overwhelmed
    3. v. 3 – They have secretly set a snare for me
    4. v. 4 – No one acknowledges me
    5. v. 4 – Refuge has failed me
    6. v. 4 – No one cares for my soul
    7. v. 6 – I am brought very low
    8. v. 6 – My persecutors
    9. v. 6 – They are stronger than I
    10. v. 7 – In prison
  2. He prayed to God about his trouble, referring to prayer as:
    1. v. 1 – A cry
    2. v. 1 – My voice (2x)
    3. v. 1 – My supplication
    4. v. 2 – My complaint
    5. v. 2 – I declare
    6. v. 5 – I cried
    7. v. 6 – My cry
  3. The Lord to David:
    1. v. 3 – He knew David’s path
    2. v. 5 – He was David’s refuge
    3. v. 5 – He was David’s portion
  4. Think of the Lord in the same ways.
    1. That will prompt you to cry out to Him and
    2. you will declare your complaint to Him.
      1. You will tell Him what is on your heart and
      2. He will listen, because
        1. He is your refuge and portion, and
        2. you know that He knows your situation perfectly.
          1. Take advantage of your brethren who want to pray for you, because
          2. they believe the Lord helps.
  5. Psalm 142 shows us that: (Wiersbe, p. 406)
    1. God hears our prayers (vv. 1–2)
    2. God knows our path (v. 3)
    3. God feels our pain (v. 4)
    4. God is our portion (v. 5)
    5. God will be praised (vv. 6–7)
  6. Brother Roy Deaver said the Fundamental Message of Psalm 141 is:

    “We must remember always that regardless of how heavy the burdens, or how deep the despair, or how dark the night, that God is the Great Deliverer, and that He cares for us. ‘…for He hath said, I will never leave thee, nor forsake thee’ (Heb. 13:5).”

  7. VII.Listen to Paul as he spoke to Timothy:

    16 At my first defense no one stood with me, but all forsook me. May it not be charged against them. 17 But the Lord stood with me and strengthened me, so that the message might be preached fully through me, and that all the Gentiles might hear. Also I was delivered out of the mouth of the lion. 18 And the Lord will deliver me from every evil work and preserve me for His heavenly kingdom. To Him be glory forever and ever. Amen! (2 Timothy 4.16–18).